Sep 052010

I was 18, a freshman in college, and had been seeing a guy from another university who was not quite a boyfriend. It was a terrible relationship and he was a lousy, cruel person. He dumped me (a blessing in disguise) but several weeks later, after much inner denial, I realized I was pregnant. I went to him about it. He said he doubted it was his (ridiculous) and that he didn’t care.

I knew that an abortion, as difficult as it might be, was the right choice for me. I felt scared, and alone, and ashamed. But not doubtful. I knew I was not emotionally or financially prepared to be a mother. I didn’t believe I could go through a pregnancy and give up the child. I also worried about what my alcohol use (pretty heavy before I knew my condition) might mean for fetal development. Finally, I didn’t want to live that way—singly carrying the burden of our mistake, being judged by strangers for being young and foolish, interrupting my schooling.

I was afraid to go to the health center of my college, because it was a small campus and I worried that they’d take over my decision-making. I was 800 miles from home and reluctant to tell my parents. So I went about it alone. I told none of my hallmates; none of my friends. One of my jerk ex-boyfriend’s fraternity brothers who had become a friend (and would later be my boyfriend) helped me borrow the money, and drove me three hours to a clinic to have the procedure. It was uncomfortable, but what I felt afterwards was incredible relief.

The clinic recommended some after-care but I couldn’t get back to the city for a checkup. I ended up going to our campus health center and telling them about it after all. It was easier once the deed was done and they couldn’t stop me. The nurse practitioner got tears in her eyes when she heard I’d gone through it all alone. She said I was far from the first woman on campus to face an unwanted pregnancy, and that they’d have provided whatever help I wanted, for whichever option I chose, without bias or judgment. They could have referred me to a clinic much closer, for one thing. What they did do, after the fact, was prescribe me the pill—a birth control method I had been too shy to ask for before.

Life went on. Did I feel bad? I deeply regretted that I put myself in the situation, not using the best kind of birth control and being dumb enough to get involved with an irresponsible guy. But I did not regret my decision. I still don’t.

It’s nearly 20 years later. I continued in school, and have the graduate degree and career I’d hoped for. I am happily married. My husband and I have a son. I went though that pregnancy feeling joy and pride, not fear and shame, and the difference was incredible. (I had no problem conceiving, by the way—within two months of us stopping contraception!) Incidentally, when I got pregnant I told my doctor it wasn’t my first pregnancy and how the previous one had ended. He didn’t bat an eye. Raising a child who is wanted and planned for and loved by both parents is a blessing and a privilege, one I am eternally thankful for. Do I think about that unborn child, who today would be a teenager? No. I don’t think he or she was meant to be.

Share This Post:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • email
  • RSS
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Contact Us